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Grainger Everyday Heroes: Apple Orchard Farmers

Grainger Editorial Staff

Oh, we're just in time. We're actually making some donuts. I`m Kathy Bock and this is my husband Steve and we have an apple orchard, Honey Hill Orchard. My dad started the orchard as a hobby back in the 60s and it was just going to be a few trees for family. So he planted about 20 trees but there's not that big of a family. So he started selling apples from grocery bags out of the garage and then my mum had had cider donuts at another orchard. She really developed the recipe for it that we've kind of stuck with and it's always been really popular, so we haven't changed anything with that.

So really everything kind of starts here with the apples and the apple trees. Season starts usually mid-September and as we harvest and things move on into our building, We can, I guess, kind of go in there and see what we do with the apples after we get them harvested. All right, this is a cooler but everything is picked in crates and brought in here and stored until we're ready to get them sorted out for selling. We're getting them ready now to sell in the store, so we have to go through all of them to sort out any that are possibly too small or if there's bruises on them. Occasionally marks on the skin from, you know, when they're growing rubbing on a branch.

Here's where we're getting `em ready for our store. So every apple is pretty much looked at. So each apple is hand-picked. We can't do any of it with machines because they`ll be damaged. This one has just a small puncture wound in it. So all of these all can still be used. We use them for our apple cider `cause we make our own cider here. This is a cider press. All the apples that I showed you that maybe had like a bruise or puncture wound go into the machine. There's a washer here that scrubs them off so that they're all clean and the apples then drop into here where there are blades that grind up the apples into a very fine pulp. So these chopped up apples and is pressed, pumped into these claws. We bring it under, this is the hydraulic part of the press and this comes down on to these and it presses down. As it presses down, all of that juice from all this ground up pulp can sip through. We can get about three gallons of cider from a bushel of apples.

It's something else that's really important to the orchard and without them we really wouldn't end up having the apples and our pumpkins that we grow is, we have our own honeybees. Apple trees aren't self pollinating, so they have to have the insects for the pollination. We kind of figured, people can go to a grocery store just to buy apples, so we wanted to do something a little different. We haven't gone in for, you know, the rides or the air bounce rides, that sort of thing. So we have a petting zoo which is really fun for the kids. We have a lot of kids, they come out from the city and suburbs and they've really never seen a donkey or you know, goats. I had a guy this fall that said, "I used to come here when I was a little kid. "my parents used to bring me "and now I'm bringing my wife and kids." So it's really rewarding that you can make somebody's day. Make them enjoy coming out here and and see what life on the farm is really like.

The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.


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